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NEWS
August 24, 2013 | By Jennifer Lin, Inquirer Staff Writer
The state's Gaming Control Board said Wednesday that local investors in the SugarHouse Casino had no legal standing to challenge the agency's awarding of a second casino license in Philadelphia. The board also asserted that under the state's gaming act, any challenge to its actions had to be made to the state Supreme Court, not Commonwealth Court. On July 29, minority investors in SugarHouse filed a complaint in Dauphin County Court to stop the board from reissuing a second license for a Philadelphia casino.
NEWS
August 23, 2013
IN WHAT could be its most significant church-state case in decades, the Supreme Court will decide whether official prayers at government meetings that overwhelmingly favor one religion violate the First Amendment. Although the case involves a town in New York, not the federal government, the Obama administration has filed a "friend of the court" brief that is distinctly unfriendly to the separation of church and state. According to Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., the town council of Greece, N.Y., did not engage in an unconstitutional establishment of religion "merely because most prayer-givers are Christian and many or most of their prayers contain sectarian references.
NEWS
August 22, 2013
Gov. Christie's latest Supreme Court nomination makes it clear that his destructive feud with Senate Democrats over the court's composition continues. For the second time, Christie broke with long-standing tradition by refusing to reappoint a sitting justice in good standing. Justice Helen Hoens' service will therefore come to the same undeserved end as that of John E. Wallace Jr. in 2010. Christie last week tapped Camden County Superior Court Judge Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina to take Hoens' place when her term expires in October.
NEWS
August 22, 2013 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
How bad is witness intimidation in Philadelphia's criminal court system? Consider the case of Devin Smith, 27, charged in the beating death of 49-year-old Ramona Bell in a house on Salem Street in Frankford. Smith had a preliminary hearing Tuesday that ended after two hours with Municipal Court Judge Patrick F. Dugan ordering Smith to stand trial for murder despite two witnesses "going south" - and a member of the public being charged after taking pictures with a cellphone. Courtroom 306 in the Criminal Justice Center - murder court - is where all homicide preliminary hearings are held.
NEWS
August 8, 2013 | By Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writer
The state Court of Judicial Discipline has permanently removed Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas M. Nocella from the bench, saying he brought the court into disrepute by failing to disclose legal problems that included $1.7 million in tax liens and judgments. In an order issued Monday, the court barred Nocella from ever again holding a judgeship in Pennsylvania. The disciplinary court said Nocella misrepresented his qualifications to win the Philadelphia Bar Association's coveted designation as a "recommended" candidate for a judgeship.
NEWS
August 2, 2013 | By Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
Former state Supreme Court Justice John E. Wallace Jr., who left the court after Gov. Christie refused to renominate him in 2010, has been chosen by Democratic legislative leaders to chair a committee that reviews ethics complaints against lawmakers. Wallace, a Gloucester County resident who was the only African American on the seven-member court, will replace Alan Rosenthal - a Rutgers University professor who died last month - as chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards.
BUSINESS
August 2, 2013 | By David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. reported a net loss of $452 million in the second quarter of 2013 because of slightly lower revenue for the period but mostly because of legal bills amounting to $1.4 billion. Indirectly, part of the legal bill hits the books now because of June's Supreme Court ruling in an antitrust case, favoring the Federal Trade Commission and hurting drug companies that engaged in "reverse payments," or pay-to-delay deals. Teva said Thursday it had an "agreement in principle" to settle class-action lawsuits related to several such cases, involving the drug Provigil, used to treat excessive sleepiness, and would take a charge of $485 million against second-quarter earnings.
NEWS
July 27, 2013 | By Vernon Clark and Theodore Schleifer, Inquirer Staff Writers
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday the first step in a legal strategy by the Obama administration to enforce the Voting Rights Act despite the recent Supreme Court decision weakening key parts of the law. In a speech to the National Urban League Conference at the Convention Center, Holder said he would seek court approval to subject Texas to the same type of federal oversight that existed between the passage of the landmark voter-protection law...
NEWS
July 23, 2013 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Judge Jack M. Marden, 80, of Souderton, a retired U.S. Army Appellate Court judge who was active in the Souderton community for the last two decades, died Thursday, July 18, at his home of renal failure. He died on his 57th wedding anniversary. Judge Marden, a retired Army colonel, served in the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps for more than 31 years, and for 26 years as a civilian judge. In retirement, he made his mark as chairman of the Souderton zoning board and board member of the Indian Valley Senior Adult Activity Center.
NEWS
July 1, 2013 | By Lisa Leff, Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO - Dozens of couples in jeans, shorts, white dresses, and the occasional military uniform filled San Francisco City Hall on Saturday as clerks resumed issuing marriage licenses one day after a federal appeals court removed the last obstacle to making same-sex matrimony legal again in California. Although a few clerk's offices around the state stayed open late Friday, San Francisco was the only jurisdiction to hold weekend hours so same-sex couples could take advantage of their newly restored right, Clerk Karen Hong said.
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